I think the Millennials — the vast majority — are getting a bum rap.
Previously, I wrote about some fairly damning criticisms of this group which I thought were unfair, especially when you consider that every generation has its own sociological quirks. An age group’s characteristics are similar to an individual’s strengths and weaknesses, that is to say, what some people see as a weakness can be a strength.
Consider what the Millennials do very well:
- Multi-tasking pros – They can juggle a multiple of tasks simultaneously
- Very tech savvy – They are the most connected generation in history and they want the latest equipment, all devices, so that they can stay connected. Companies should take heed
- Instant gratification and recognition are important — If you are an employer, you will be want to adjust your style to be sure you can recruit and retain the best of the best. There is an enormous amount of talent in this group
- Flexibility is key – Another way of saying this is that the Generation Y cohort wants a good work-life balance and, ideally, they would like flexible schedules so they can realize that objective. Some of your managers may think they “do not get it” in terms of how companies operate, but…
- Very team oriented — If you have been puzzled why Marriott and other hotelchains have been busy tearing up their traditional lobbies and replacing the traditional wing chairs with hip communal tables and places where groups can congregate, the Millennials deserve the credit. They work well together in teams and they like to be around others when they work. So, if you cannot find the work desk in your room because it has been replaced by a chair with a workspace, it’s because they are catering to the Millennials
- Collaborative work relationships are important — This dovetails with their team orientation. For companies, the ability of Millennials to work in teams and their value of collaboration are exceedingly important assets
- The value transparency – Millennials tend to be more liberally minded and socially conscious. As a leader, you cannot say one thing and do another based on whim or convenience. Generation Y values transparency and that must be evident throughout the hiring process and beyond. They want companies to practice their mission and values statements. For those companies that embrace, let us say, a certain moral flexibility, you can expect higher than normal turnover from this age cohort
- Advancement is important — Although we also like to call them the We Me generation that values flexible work schedules, they do expect transparency when it comes to their future, so human resource departments must be ever cognizant of generational value
If you are looking for a quick summary, here it is: In many ways, the Millennials are like every other generation but there will be some significant implications in terms of workforce management. Be transparent, be consistent, be flexible, understand their weaknesses and take full advantage of their strengths, for there are many.
And don’t sweat the small stuff.